How to Grocery Shop

This is actually a question we got from our Homeroom community. Steven, Stephan, Stephen, it depends on what kind of flair you want to put on your name, which by the way, let us know how you actually pronounce that, because we love you, you’re in the community, we see you all the time. Just give me a quick reminder, because we appreciate you being so active in Homeroom and all that stuff, and being a part of the tribe. But you asked a great question, and I wanted to bring it to the podcast too, and there was also a second version of this question on budgeting with groceries that happened I think a couple days ago too, but how does your family grocery shop? I.E. go to one big shop with a monthly meal plan, or smaller shops getting all the different things? COVID appears to have taught us that we tend to spend more the more shops we do. 

Yeah, I’d love to hear how you guys do it as just a way more complex organism with different households and size and ages. Yeah, for us, and everyone, I would go backwards from your value system too, first of all, right? If you really hold certain foods and organics and all that stuff really high, well then you probably are going to work backwards from that, where you’re not probably going to be able to get all that in one place, right? So, I would say, yeah, based on some of our values and stuff like that, we probably try to piece everything together two or three places, right? Costco for really big stuff, Target for really random stuff, and then farmer’s markets or Whole Foods or a health store for kind of some of our main health stuff, because we’re a little crunchy as the phrase goes, which means hippie with some of our stuff. So, I would say, yeah, that’s how we do it. One thing I would say, I do think you have to have a philosophy of grocery shopping and a philosophy of even budging for grocery shopping. 

So for us, we went back and forth on this one because this one was really hard for us, where we tried… Groceries is always the first place people attack with budgeting. And there are some people that I think have dominated that, you know? Very specific, they’ve saved a ton of money. They have a certain amount and they make the food stretch and work and all that. That’s totally wise. For us though, we get really tight on other things, and we do the opposite with groceries. We just have felt we host way too much, we do so many events, so many people in our house, all these different things. We just let off the brake, and we just said, “We have no budget on groceries,” right?

Now, sometimes that means the bill can get huge. But that means we have to try to pull it from other places where we are really tight, and are really specific and are really shrewd, and are really frugal with things we don’t have that a lot of people have. But I think we just realized that, yeah, it’s kind of related, but not related. But I would say I think it’s sometimes okay. I feel like everyone never gave us permission that that was okay, and I just felt like four years ago, and we were like, “Eh, we just don’t have a budget. Do we need it? Are we having a party this week? Do we have the money? Then we’re going to get it.” You know? Specifically, we just make so much stuff for our neighbors, we have so many people over and stuff like that. But I don’t know what you have to say. 

Yeah, that’s huge. I do have one comment to what you were saying about letting off the budget in this area. You sort of prefaced that by saying because you guys host so much, because this is an area where you want to give extravagantly, and a lot of Christians- 

Yeah, it’s our way of using it for other people. We’re not just letting off the brake so we can eat more stuff and have more stuff. 


It’s like, it was just too hard to track a budget. We thought… Here’s another way to put it. Our budget started to hinder our ability to use hospitality and food for how we wanted to use it. 

Yeah, and we had the same experience. And what a lot of people don’t realize is maybe the longest passage in the Bible on tithing, in Deuteronomy 14, is actually commanding families, households, to use their tithe to have… for their festival budget. You can go and read it. It’s a shocking passage. When I first read it, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never heard anyone teach on this idea. But it’s even more critical now than ever, to your point. People’s primary experience with the Kingdom of God is in the home and around food, and good drink and all of that. And that’s really what Deuteronomy 14 is, is articulating the critical nature of making sure that you have money for these kinds of festival events, or your sabbath days. 

And so, if you have special days that you really celebrate, this is going to be… This is a huge expression of the Kingdom of God coming in and through your household. And I don’t think it’s inappropriate to think about setting aside some giving resources to make sure that you have what it takes to really help people taste and see that the Kingdom of God is good. And so, that’s just a comment I want to make. But Stephen, to your larger question, we’re very similar to what the [inaudible 00:04:12] described. We do a Costco run, probably twice a month. We do grocery run. I usually go get meats and stuff on the fly. I do a lot of the cooking, and so I go to the grocery probably three or four times a week very quickly. That’s kind of what I prefer, is just an in-and-out. I like really fresh meats, I don’t like stuff rotting in my fridge. Now, during the COVID thing, I went completely the other direction and froze a ton of stuff, and kind of brought it out. 

Yeah, same. I bought so much non-perishable food for the apocalypse. 

Yeah, I know, so we’re kind of thrown off. And then on our crunchy stuff now, we’re growing, so we’ve got our sprout house going crazy, so- 

Look at that. You’re growing your own stuff now. 

Yeah, all our micro greens and stuff. By the way, that’s Erin and Liz Menky who is part of our Homeroom community. They came and visited us and told us all about micro greens and gave us the skinny. So, we’ve been eating a lot more healthy. These epic salads, ever since then. I would say one more thing to, Stephen, one of the things I like about grocery shopping that we’ve used as a family, it’s a great time to train your kids about money, about budgeting, or about how to just do math. How to think about quality. 

I mean, there’s so many teachable moments. So, one of the things that we did, and this is when our kids turned like eight or nine, somewhere around there, is most of these big grocery stores have a coffee area or a sitting area. So, me and April would go and do, sometimes we’d do a meeting inside the coffee shop, and send our kids in groups of two with a list and they just went through the coffee… or sorry, the grocery store, and just started to… and then they would bring their basket back to us. We would kind of review. They’d say, “I can’t find that.” 

That’s awesome. 

It was like a scavenger hunt. I mean, it was like, there was so many cool things that happened. They were a team, they had to learn all kinds of things about food, about how to order from a meat counter, all that stuff. And me and April, it took them forever, it took them like 30-60 minutes. So instead of being frustrated, we just did a meeting and really enjoyed the time together and so it was sort of a win/win. But that was one of the hacks that was really, really helpful for us. 

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